Roy Bridges was born on July 19, 1943, in Atlanta, Georgia. He entered the U.S. Air Force Academy on June 26, 1961, and graduated with a commission in the Air Force on June 9, 1965. Bridges was then allowed to complete his Masters degree at Purdue University before beginning pilot training in March 1966 at Williams AFB, Arizona. Lt Bridges graduated from UPT and was awarded his pilot wings in March 1967, and then flew F-100 Super Sabre fighters with the 524th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, from March 1967 to November 1968. Capt Bridges next served as a Misty Fast FAC pilot flying F-100F Super Sabres out of Phu Cat Air Base in the Republic of Vietnam from December 1968 to December 1969. After returning from Vietnam, he was assigned as an instructor pilot with the 3575th Pilot Training Squadron at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, from January 1969 to July 1970. He then attended Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, graduating in July 1971, and serving as a Test Pilot at Edwards from July 1971 to July 1975. Maj Bridges attended Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from August 1975 to June 1976, and then served as program element monitor for the F-15 and A-10 programs and then as special assistant to the deputy chief of staff for research at Headquarters USAF from June 1976 to November 1979. Col Bridges then served as assistant director of plans at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Nellis AFB, Nevada, from November 1979 until he was selected to be a NASA Astronaut in July 1980. Bridges served with NASA until May 1986, and completed one space flight as pilot of the Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-99) on mission STS-51F from July 29-August 6, 1985. After serving with NASA, Bridges became Commander of the 6510th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, California, where he served from May 1986 to March 1989. He then served as Commander of the Eastern Space and Missile Center at Patrick AFB, Florida, from March 1989 to January 1990, before becoming deputy chief of staff for test and resources at Headquarters Air Force Systems Command at Andrews AFB, Maryland, from January 1990 to August 1991. Gen Bridges then served as Commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB from August 1991 to June 1993. His final assignment was as director of requirements at Headquarters Air Force Material Command at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, from June 1993 until his retirement from the Air Force on July 1, 1996. After retiring from the Air Force, Bridges served as the director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center from March 1997 to August 2003, when he became director of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. He served at the Langley Research Center until October 2005, and retired from NASA in December 2005. Bridges has worked for Northrop Grumman since February 2006. Roy Bridges is married to the former Benita Louise Allbaugh of Tucson, Arizona, and they have two children. He was Misty 60.
His 3rd Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
Captain Roy D Bridges Jr. distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight over North Vietnam on 26 July 1968. On that date, as an F-100F Forward Air Controller, Captain Bridges played a major role in the rescue of a pilot downed by hostile ground fire on the previous day. He made numerous low altitude passes in the face of constant antiaircraft artillery and automatic weapons fire in order to locate positions of hostile defenses. He then called for armed fighters to silence the threatening guns. While under continuous fire from defending gunners, he skillfully marked firing sites and directed ordnance deliveries. Through exemplary skill and courage, the hostile defenses were silenced and the rescue helicopter was able to traverse ten miles of formerly well defended territory to rescue the downed airman. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Captain Bridges reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.